Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nov.26: sometimes they get it right...sometimes....

As an aside, and not just in reference to the TandT, the commercialization of Christmas is pretty well complete. It has no religious significance. It's the festival of Santa Claus, the day of getting gifts, the feast of materialism. Almost all the stories about it are about it are about Santa Claus, and projected sales figures. The new manger is Walmart.The magi are the Black Friday shoppers carrying pepper spray and guns.

Page  A2 has a good report on the Liberal response to Alward's speech from the throne. (It wasn't much of a response; but that wasn't the reporter's fault. That was because the Liberal leader refused to deal with any of the real issues. The reporter certainly have gave him full coverage. Too bad Mr. Boudreau, fully covered, is still pretty naked.)

If Mr. Boudreau hopes to win the next election, then his party has to reform itself in a serious way. He has to talk about getting corporations out of government. For example, a democracy does not allow a gang of self-appointed corporate bosses to dictate the budget.. Can you see the conflict of interest in there, Mr. Boudreau?

Further on, there is a report of the Liberal Party meeting to reform itself. Unfortunately, that reform seems to consist mainly of looking for new buzz words.

As for consulting the public on shale gas,we all know that isn't going to happen under the party of Alward any more than it happened under the party of Graham and Boudreau. Mr. Boudreau knows the information on shale gas. As a leader, he knows he is supposed to lead, not just to listen. This shale gas stuff has been going on for years. Mr Boudreau should long ago have made a decision on it. He should be out there explaining his decision, and trying to convince people of it.

Democracy down not mean listening to people or consulting with them. Democracy means we have a right to decide who will govern us. I don't give a damn whether Mr. Alward and Mr. Boudreau listen to me. I want democracy. Democracy means they tell us what they propose to do and why ; and  we decide if these are the people we want. The constant chatter in this province of consulting and listening is a farce.

At last, an honest report on developments in the fracking controversy. An authority on shale gas (a real authority, not an industry PR man) will be speaking at the Capitol Theatre on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7 pm. Next day, he will speak at Hampton High School, also at 7 pm.

It's a well written and informative news story by Craig Babstock. Too bad it was buried on p. A15. But that's the fault of the editor, not the reporter.

There is still no news in the TandT of the preparations for an invasion of Syria, though these have been well covered in other news media.

As to Egypt, where the army is determined to hold on to power and has killed protestors (just as Syria has), the headline says only that the US urges the generals to go. For some reason, there is no mention of sanctions or invasions.  Maybe that might have something to do with the fact that Obama, like presidents before him, has been using the generals to control Egypt.

I cannot imagine any reason to read the editorial page column by Bill Belliveau or the op ed column by Brent Mazerolle.

Then there's the column by something called the  Citizens for Responsible Resource Development. that title is just a little misleading; and so is the column.

It starts out as a protest against Windsor Energy for illegally carrying out  seismic testing in Sussex - without permission.  But it quickly turns out to be a chorus of hallelujahs to our government for moving in quickly with stern action. By the end, it is cheering on shale gas development.

1. Minister Northrup took action only after the company had admitted it acted illegally.
2. the action took the form of submitting it to the RCMP - AFTER the company admitted it had done it.
3. The RCMP has done......? What? We haven't heard a word, though the case does not seem a complicated one. Meanwhile, Windsor Energy is laughing all the way to the bank with the sixty thousand dollars it saved by acting illegally.
4. The government is developing regulations? Well, it says it is. It has even announced them several times over the years. But we're still waiting.
5. And don't you set regulations BEFORE you allow drilling? I mean, we're not just drilling. We're actually pumping the gas. And we still don't have regulations.

Then there's Norbert. "A socialist government would jail or shoot you." Thus spake Norbert. We leave aside his seeming failure to understand the meaning of either socialism or democracy. (They are not opposities.) Britain and France and Sweden and some Canadian provinces have had socialist governments. They didn't shoot or imprison people.

The US has a democracy (so-called). The president has the power - and he has used it - to shoot and imprison people without any legal process at all. He also has used the power to torture on a wide scale.

Canada has a democracy. We have sent at least two Canadian citizens off to be tortured by a foreign country - and our CSIS officers have joined in the "interrogations". Canada has also refused to recognize international law concerning a Canadian citizen (Omar Khadr).

Cunningham seems to think democracy and capitalism are the same. They aren't. There have been plenty of socialist and social-democratic (I see no sign that Rupert knows the difference) governments in the world that have been quite democratic.

Nor have all capitalist governments been democratic. Nor or all forms of capitalism the same. The dictatorships of Haiti were capitalist. So were the dictatorships of Congo, Guatemala, Saudi Arabia,  Bahrain, of old Cuba under Batista. And they were all supported by capitalist "democracies".

As to  history proving that evolution is better than revolution - well, Norbert doesn't appear to know what revolution means, either. It does not mean violence, though some revolutions are. It means a radical change. (and, no, radical does not mean terrorist or communist).

The rise of corporations to political dominance is a revolution. It wasn't violent. But it happened.
The Quebec Act (read about it, Norbert) was a revolution in treatment of religious groups. It wasn't violent.
As for violent revolutions, you're right. The American revolution was a  terrible example of what revolution can produce. Perhaps you should have mentioned it.
And Cuba is a horrible example of revolution?
1. Norbert, do you have a clue what Cuba was like before the revolution? Can you understand the determination it must have taken for the Cuban people to be the first in latin america to stand up against American dictators and to get away with it for fifty years? And that terrible socialism? Awful. It forces children to go to school, and sick people to go to  hospitals.
2. capitalism prevents a small, ruliing elite frin getting a stranglehold on power? What province to you live in Norbert? What continent?
And you haven't noticed how capitalism has spread poverty all over the world in places like Haiti and Congo and Guatemala so that we can have cheap goods?  And you haven't noticed  the phenomenal income gap that has developed in Canada and the US? And you haven't noticed how corporate bosses are still making profits while millions, even in the capitalist paradise of the US, are starving?
3. Iran. Which revolution in Iran are you referring to.
a) right after WW2, Iran was a democracy. A revolution did that.
b) oil capitalists in Britain, France and US overthrew the democracy to establish a brutal dictator called the Shah, who gave them cheap oil at the expense of the Iranian people under a reign marked by imprisonment, torture and killing. that was a revolution.
c)The third revolution came when Iranians overthrew the Shah, kicked out the western oil capitalists, and used the oil profits for Iranians.

No doubt, the present Iranian government poses problems. But your picture of it is pretty simple minded - to put it kindly.

Your closing quotation by Ghandi is quite true. But it has no connection with anything you wrote; and Ghandi stood against everything you ranted for in that column.

Norbert, this is an ignorant rant, ignorant of history, ignorant of current events, ignorant of word meanings, ignorant even of basic logic. I can think of very few newspapers, even in Canada, that would allow this to appear in print.

Lord, lord, I would love a public debate with you.

With relief, I turned to student Jana Giles "Whether you like it or not, don't waste food."

That title resonated with me because I grew up at a time when there wasn't much food. We ate everything, even the things I hated - heart, tongue, dry and stale bread (broken up and put in milk with sugar on it, and called bread pudding).

To this day, I never throw out a scrap. It would actually be sinful.

But that changed a long time ago. My children won't eat bread crusts, most vegetables, and they throw out some even some of those things they like (Pizza and chocolate bars). And it's not just a problem of waste.

With our rise in prosperity, food has ceased to something we eat for health. It has become something we eat for entertainment. We're seeing the price now in obesity.Lots of sugar. Lots of salt.  Down the road, and not far down the road, we're going to see far more serious problems.

Isabelle Agnew spoke to my heart. I, too, have a touch of obsessive-compulsiveness. It's good to see her dealing with it in a mature way (unlike me.)

Christina Korotkov writes about how we forget to care about others, to understand others. Quite true. In fact, we enjoy seeing others in trouble or looking silly. We enjoy watching it. We enjoy talking about it. That explains the popularity of all the judge shows on TV and, even worse, shows like Jerry Springer. We like seeing people humiliated. We're not that far from the Romans who enjoyed watching people get killed at public shows.

That says something about us that deserves a lot of thought.

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